News Column

Zanaco Invests U.S.$1 Million in New Loan Scheme

August 26, 2014

Helen Zulu

THE Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) has invested about US$1?million in a new product called 'Loan a Cow' scheme which is aimed at?improving small and medium scale dairy farmers access to fairly priced finance.

The move by ZANACO will help farmers to improve and expand their dairy productivity.

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Wylbur Simuusa said the Loan a Cow?scheme would go a long way in alleviating poverty in the country as?this would enable the farmers increase their productivity.

Mr Simuusa noted that smallholder farmers were facing a lot of challenges when seeking financing and that the ZANACO product would help to ?alleviate the burden that the dairy sector was facing.?He was speaking at the official launch of the ZANACO/ZNFU Loan a Cow?scheme in Chisamba on Friday.

"It is, however, gratifying to note that ZANACO is introducing an initiative that will look at providing an alternative to conventional security and this demonstrates the bank's commitment towards developing the small- dairy sector," Mr Simuusa said.

The scheme is a joint Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and ZANACO mutually developed financing product.?ZANACO managing director Bruce Dick said the bank had continued to grow?its loan book in the agricultural sector and was currently financing more than 20,000 farmers under different smallholder credit schemes such as the Lima and daily credit schemes.

Mr Dick said the bank has continued to train emergent and smallholder farmers?in financial literacy and had so far reached 2,700 small and emergent?farmers.

He said the bank would continue to help the unbanked population of Zambia and bring banking services closer to the people through a robust branch and distribution network of more than 67.

"We are determined more than ever to continue to explore innovative products and our focus now is on tractor and sugar out grower schemes," Mr Dick said.

At the same function, ZNFU second vice president Graham Rae said limited access to fairly priced and efficiently delivered credit for productivity enhancing inputs, technologies and productive asset remained among the major challenges affecting the farmers in the country today.

Mr Rae said the Loan a Cow scheme was timely, saying there was need for?deliberate measures by the partners involved to ensure that a farmer?got a fair deal after participating under the loan scheme.

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Source: AllAfrica

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